Atascadero, CA, August 26th, 2017– Artists were invited to submit a rendering/concept for a mural competition to celebrate Women's Equality Day in Atascadero, CA. The Women’s Equality Day Street Art Project will reference the history of Atascadero, which was founded as "The Women's Republic,” a utopian community that championed women's rights. The successful submission will received $10,000 to produce a large-scale mural on a wall in downtown Atascadero.
Women's Equality Day is the anniversary of the 19th Amendment granting women the right to vote. All submissions were judged by a panel of regional artists and a local historian. The winner went through an AUP hearing through the City of Atascadero and after approval was announced in a proclamation at Colony Days.
In 1913, Atascadero was originally purchased in the name of the Women's Republic by its founder Edward Gardner Lewis and his wife Mabel Lewis. Although, it preceded the 19th Amendment by seven years, women were able to buy and hold land in Atascadero for the first time in American history. The founders of Atascadero were early supporters of Women's Suffrage and held Women's Congresses, where thousands of women came by horseback, buggy, and train to express their collective voices before being granted the right to vote. We welcome your submissions to honor Women’s Equality Day in Atascadero and to celebrate the Arts.
Ioan Tzenkov is a Bulgarian street artist whose strong image was selected as first place by a panel of established local artists and historian. The floating woman is portrayed in a sea of equality which represents freedom from the constraints of inequality for women. In a literal sense you can see that her head is above water and her body language is free of struggle, you get the sense that she is at rest and yet full of spontaneity and pleasure from a simple back float. Tzenkov wanted to communicate a hopeful future to women saying, "You have the freedom to choose your life and to live your life how you want to live it." As we look to the future in light of the past, we hope that women are able to mimic this image in that they are able to approach life without the hindrance or weight that their sex once came with by default.
This mural celebrates our Atascadero history and Women’s Equality Day, the anniversary of women earning the right to vote in The United States. Artist, Heather Millenaar, depicts turn of the century photographs and bright rolling hills classic to our Central Coast region. Our founders, E.G. & Mabel Lewis, planned the Atascadero community revolving around the rights of women and allowing them to buy and hold land 7 years before they could legally vote in The United States. This area was called “The Women’s Republic” and Lewis promoted this community in his Women’s magazine in hopes to bring residents here. Lewis earned a following with residents and women, by encouraging women to voice their opinions, which drew many travelers and forward thinkers to the area. Although the mural started as a contest, it quickly grew into a community outreach. Over 100 people to helped contribute to the painting, in order to call it their own during what the artist coined as Mural Community Day. This mural is a gift to the citizens of Atascadero so they may know and have pride in the rich historic principles this city was founded on.